From Russia with Love

Published: March 28, 2013 By Nancy V. Mills, APR 281.491.2369

FBSO violinist Anastasia Marshall is dressed in traditional Russian clothing that women wear for celebrations. The front of her head piece, called a kokoshnik, is adorned with gold and pearl embroidery. Growing up in Russia, Anastasia Golenkova Marshall was immersed in classical music. She continues this tradition today and is delighted to share the music of her homeland as the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra (FBSO) closes out its 21st season on May 19 with a concert called From Russia with Love.

“When I listen to Russian music, I want to clap and tell everyone I’m Russian because the music makes me proud of my Russian heritage,” said Marshall who has played violin with FBSO since 2004.

Marshall grew up in Bryansk, a town of 500,000 residents about five hours south of Moscow. Although her parents were professional musicians – her father conducted the Russian Folk Orchestra and her mother conducted a children’s choir – they were not the ones who taught her how to play violin or piano. That was learned at music school, which was added to regular schooling at age 6. Marshall says it was customary to attend music school daily, but only after passing an admissions test.

Marshall went on to study music at the Moscow University of Culture before immigrating to the United States in 1998. Today, the 37-year-old wife and mother enjoys spending time with her two daughters, ages 3 and 5. Through a mother’s group and her own endeavors, she regularly imparts her heritage to her children, celebrating Russian music, dance, language and holidays.

One of her daughters’ favorite Russian tunes is Sabre Dance. This popular song, which FBSO will perform on May 19, is an exciting Armenian dance where the dancers display their sabre skills.

“We listen to Sabre Dance a lot in the car and we’ve watched the ballet on YouTube,” said Marshall. “It’s a really wonderful, passionate piece.”

During From Russia with Love, FBSO will perform a composition by one of Marshall’s favorite composers, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture.

“Romeo and Juliet is an amazing piece,” said Marshall. “This music has been used in many Russian and American movies and will be recognized by many. This is one of my favorites of all time! It’s very emotional and shows Tchaikovsky’s romanticism at its best.”

Some of the other selections on the upcoming FBSO program are Russian Sailor’s Dance, Dark Eyes and Colas Breugnon Overture, which features some jazzy syncopation.

From Russia with Love begins at 2 p.m. on May 19 at the Stafford Centre, 10505 Cash Road in Stafford. Tickets are available at or by calling 281.276.9642. Reserved seats for adults begin at $12 with discounts for students, seniors 55 and over, military and groups of 10 or more. Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult, but need a reserved ticket.